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New cars and hot deals, 5th October 2007

Your weekly dose of new cars and money-saving tips

Convertible joins BMW 1 Series line-up

BMW 1 Series convertible

1 Series drop-top promises plenty of poke

Following the recent announcement of the 1 Series Coupé, BMW has now released details of the 1 Series Convertible.

Five engines will be offered in the UK. In contrast to the Coupé, only one of these is a diesel – the 175bhp 120d 2.0-litre; the petrol range consists of a 141bhp 2.0-litre 118i, 168bhp 2.0 120i, 215bhp 125i, and a range-topping 302bhp twin-turbo 3.0 135i.

The fabric roof opens or closes in 22 seconds, and can be operated at speeds of up to 25mph.

Leather seat options benefit from clever sun reflecting ‘cool pigments’, and a specific open-air air-conditioning mode is included – along with BMW’s green appeasing EfficientDynamics technology.

Full pricing and specification are yet to be revealed, but we anticipate a choice of ES, SE, and M Sport models, echoing other 1 Series versions.


Market watch – new and used deals

Ford Mondeo Titanium x

Save nearly £5k on Ford’s range-topping Mondeo

UK Car Discount has brand new Mondeo estates at nearly £5,000 off. That’s a huge reduction on a car Ford said wouldn’t be subject to significant discounting.

It’s the range-topping Titanium X 2.5-litre turbo petrol: £19,445 on the road saves you £4,850 on the list price. Performance and practicality are strong, but for decent fuel economy and resale value you would be better off with a diesel.

Peugeot 307

Big discounts to help shift the outgoing 307

The Peugeot 307 hatchback is ripe for a good deal as its 308 replacement has now arrived.

Motorpoint has a decent selection ranging from £6,999 for 11,000-mile 2006 models through to £8,299 for delivery mileage 2007 cars. These are all in basic five-door 1.4 S trim, but £8,299 is a £4,781 saving off list, and a substantial amount of car for the money.

That said, beware the 307’s patchy reliability record, which is echoed in low owner satisfaction scores in the Which? Car survey.

Toyota Auris deals

Shop around for the sensible Auris

Finally, the Toyota Auris caught our eye this week (now that’s a phrase you may not see very often). Toyota is Which? Best Car Manufacturer 2007, and the Auris a safe and sensible – if unexciting – family hatchback. Although it’s early days, it’s also likely to inherit Toyota’s clockwork reliability.

Autobytel is listing an 07-registration 1.6 petrol TR semi-automatic with just over 4,000 miles for £10,979. That’s a £2,400 saving over brand new on a specification that includes metallic paint. Alternatively, Toyota is offering zero per cent finance on the Auris TR if you want to buy new.


More kit, but no interest, for Mazda RX-8

Mazda RX-8 Sports Pack

Sports Pack and 0 per cent finance for the RX-8

Mazda has a new ‘Sport Pack’ available for its RX-8 four-door coupé. It costs £350, but includes more than £1,700 in extra equipment.

The additions include lowered sports suspension, 10-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels, aerodynamic side skirts and special RX-8 graphics.

The Sports Pack can be added to both the standard 189bhp car, and the high-power 228bhp version – which cost £21,500 and £23,000, respectively. Mazda is also offering zero per cent finance on the RX-8 until 31st December.

The RX-8’s innovative four-door coupé design makes it remarkably practical for a sports car – you can just about pass it off as a family car, which has won it many fans.

However, buyers should be aware real world fuel – and oil – consumption is rather heavy, especially when driven ‘enthusiastically’. And, unusually for a Mazda, our reliability data shows it suffers too many breakdowns, too.


Corsa Sri makes a comeback

Vauxhall Corsa SRi

Vauxhall is rekindling the Corsa SRi warm hatch

Vauxhall is reintroducing the SRi badge to the Corsa.

There are two versions – a petrol and a diesel. The petrol uses a 148bhp 1.6-litre turbo engine, and reaches 62mph from standstill in 7.6 seconds. Top speed is 130mph.

The 1.7-litre diesel alternative has 123bhp, achieves 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds and reaches 121mph; the slower pace is compensated by 58.9mpg fuel economy and 130g/km CO2 emissions. The petrol manages 35.8mpg and 189g/km.

Both feature styling similar to the range-topping Corsa VXR performance model. Lowered suspension and ESP (Vauxhall’s acronym for electronic stability control) are standard, and insurance is competitive – group 13 for the petrol, and group seven for the diesel.

The SRi is on sale now, priced between £13,625 and £14,885.


Special Edition Jeep Grand Cherokee

Jeep Grand Cherokee Snow&Rock

Special edition Snow+Rock Jeep

A special edition version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee is now available, coinciding with a £2,000 discount offer on the regular Limited and Overland models.

The ‘Snow+Rock Adventure Pack’ costs £564 on the Limited and £480 on the Overland, and has been launched in conjunction with outdoor clothing and equipment retailer Snow+Rock.

It comprises various cosmetic enhancements – including running boards, splashguards and light protectors – plus a cargo tray and your choice of ski carrier, roof box, or bike rack. Buyers also get a £250 Snow+Rock voucher.

The reduced price Limited is £28,590, making the Snow+Rock version £29,154; the Overland is £32,090 as standard, £32,570 for the Snow+Rock.

If you’re tempted, bear in mind that you may need to take the rough with the smooth from Jeep dealers. The American brand came bottom for its sales service, and second bottom for after-sales care, in this year’s Which? Car dealership survey.


Citroën discounts to lower CO2

Citroen C1

C1 city car could shrink your carbon footprint

Citroën is running a ‘Go Lo CO2’ promotion, aimed at people looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

Trade-in your current vehicle for a Citroën with lower CO2 emissions and you are entitled to a discount of £500 on selected C1, C2, C3, C4 and Berlingo Multispace models, and a £1000 reduction on qualifying versions of the Xsara Picasso.

Since this promotion can be used in conjunction with existing Citroën cashback offers, it means you can pick up a C1 city car from £5,995, a C4 hatchback from £9,995, and a Xsara Picasso MPV from £9,995.

The trade-in offer automatically applies to cars registered before 2001. Other current Citroën promotions include free insurance on sporty C2 models, zero per cent finance, and a free DVD player on the Xsara Picasso Desire.

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